Easter Changes Everything

I’ve never considered myself to be very smart when it comes to theology or theological concepts. It takes me a little while to grasp the deeper teachings and concepts – especially when it’s taught or presented in a way that’s straight-forward, practical, and bland. However, when the same information is presented as a story, now THAT is a game-changer for me! Storytelling has a way of catching my attention and allowing that concept to be more relatable. Everyone has a different way of learning and I kinda love that mine is through story and song and artistic avenues…it’s probably why I’m a “creative” at heart. It definitely makes me feel like I would have been completely captivated by Jesus as he walked dusty roads, telling stories and speaking in parables, looking for the ones who thirsted for something more.

I usually plan my social media posts in advance. I like to alternate lettering and images – a mix of art and life – creating a pretty quilt-like look for those who stumble across my profile on Instagram. It also helps me not feel overwhelmed planning perfect images that use the same filter and trying to keep up with every “business on Instagram” tip I’ve ever heard. Good Friday rolled around and I had two potential posts to use – one that said “Sunday is coming” and one that said “it is finished”, both options in a simple script lettering style. In the end, I chose the first, mostly because I assumed many others would use some version of the “it is finished” line from scripture (which was they did) and I posted these words:

 

“Can you imagine with me for a moment what it must have been like to walk beside Jesus in real life? What it must have been like to hear his voice as he spoke and taught, to experience the joy of his laughter or the love of his compassionate approach to those who had been outcast?

Imagine how your life would have been impacted to see his miracles first-hand. Water to wine. Blind to sight. The sick healed. The outcast held close. The accused forgiven.

Death to life.

The most amazing human you’ve ever known, who had only served others, done good, brought peace and taught love, is suddenly convicted, beaten beyond recognition, and nailed to a cross to die the death of a hardened criminal.

As those who convicted him mock him from the ground, you look on in utter disbelief as he takes his last breath.

It is finished.

All at once, the world seems to stand still. Dark. Hopeless. Defeated.

What you don’t know is today is that Sunday is coming.”

 

Just a few words, trying to capture the weighty despair that I believe I would’ve felt if I had been there. Even as I typed it from my iPhone, my heart felt heavy. The weight of the words seemed to just sit in my soul. If you’ve ever used a weighted blanket, it’s like that…like a heaviness that you can’t really move under.

Later that morning, I saw an Instagram story that Emily Ley shared from a post that had words that had been reposted, but originated from Nic Burleson:

“Think about this for a second. Jesus knew. He goes into that room with His disciples. He knows He is going to be betrayed. He knows it is Judas who will turn against him. He knows that He has been sold out for a handful of silver. Stabbed in the back by one He has poured His life into. Yet, in that room, hours before the death of Jesus, Judas ate too. Jesus fed Judas too. Jesus prayed for Judas too. Jesus washed Judas’ feet too. I struggle to fathom that kind of love. A love that would feed the mouth that deceived you. A love that would wash the treasonous feet of the traitor. A love that could forgive the vilest of betrayals. I honestly struggle to comprehend it. And then, suddenly, I realize that I am Judas. And in that moment, I’m so thankful & altogether overwhelmed that Judas ate too.”

 

Those words sit heavy, don’t they? The truth of our sin and the guilt that joins it, splayed across your heart. Can you consider that the words we read in the Bible, the story of the moments in the upper room…can you consider how you were there? I was there, too. And the truth of that is shattering.

But, like He does with all things as life ebbs and flows, there’s beauty and love and purpose woven in to even the smallest details. Judas was loved beyond measure. In spite of all the wrongs, in spite of the guilt, in spite of the condition of his heart – Jesus loved and served and nourished. Forgiveness. Acceptance. Mercy. Grace.

Good Friday this year will be one that I won’t soon forget. It was also my husband’s birthday and as we drove the dark, country roads home after eating supper with his family, he synced his phone to the van so we could listen to some music. I was driving, he was in the passenger seat, and all three kids were zonked out about 2.8 seconds after pulling out of the driveway for the 15 minute drive.

The moon was bright and a few stars peeked through the clouds left over from all the rain that came through earlier in the day. Jared’s choices were spot-on for the Lord to bring me back to what He started in my heart earlier that morning with a simple Instagram post. First, What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong. (Click any of these to watch/listen)

 


 

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong

You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The name of Jesus Christ my King

What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The name of Jesus

You didn’t want Heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought Heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You
You silenced the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring the praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus


I Am Who You Say I Am by Hillsong

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am who You say I am


Living Hope by Phil Wickham

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night

Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame

The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory!

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free!
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me!
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free!
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me!
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my Living Hope

Jesus Christ, my Living Hope
Oh God, You are my Living Hope


 

Driving home that night, I was so deeply reminded of so, so much. Reminded of the very nature of myself – flawed, sinful, broken, guilty. Reminded of the beauty of Christ – the Heart of God in his persistent and unending pursuit to redeem me, sent his Son as a sacrifice to ransom me from the guilt of my sinful heart. Reminded that now, because I call Him mine, I am redeemed, restored, and forgiven. It sounds so beautiful and, friend, it truly is. But like any great story, there was a struggle, a battle, but woven throughout history with the common thread of God’s perfect love and perfect plan. The sacrifice was anything but beautiful, but the Love that endured is more glorious than anything we’ll ever know this side of Heaven.

Friend, my prayer for you is that this Easter season – and all the seasons ahead – you have a single moment like the one I had on Good Friday, 2019. I pray that you experience the abundant and everlasting love that Christ has for you. I pray that you catch a glimpse of yourself in that upper room, that you find yourself in overwhelming gratitude for the sacrifice and beauty found on the cross, and that you’re able to experience the sweet gifts of Christ in a life lived for Him!


 

But the Servant was pierced because we had sinned.
He was crushed because we had done what was evil.
He was punished to make us whole again.
His wounds have healed us.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIRV)

 

He is not here! He has risen, just as he said he would!
Matthew 28:6 (NIRV)

 

When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come.
The old is gone! The new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIRV)

 


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